In short, our vacation was great. I found that one week was not near enough time to enjoy everything the ship had to offer.
If you spend a week on this ship and find that you are not happy, there is every chance that the problem is with you, not the ship. There are people that live in very delicate worlds. If the Stateroom Attendant doesn’t make a towel animal for them on the first night of the cruise, their entire week is spoiled. If you are one of those people, you should spend some time in a dark room really evaluating yourself.
We arrived at Miami International the day before our cruise and stayed at the airport hotel in Concourse E. This proved very convenient. Saturday morning, we took a blue shuttle van from MIA to the pier. The cost of the shuttle was $32 per person. I gave the driver a $100 bill and the driver did not want to give me change; he had the change, he just didn’t want to give it to me until I insisted. I planned on giving him a tip but not a $38 tip.
Embarkation was a breeze; we arrived at the terminal at about 12 noon. There was one person in the line ahead of us. We were processed and on the ship in about 10 minutes.
The crew was outstanding. They did everything possible to make our experience as pleasant as possible. They are extremely hard working and they do it with a smile. Do not slight them on the tips. The truth is that they make almost nothing in salary. They are almost completely dependent on your generosity. Do the right thing.
We watched all the shows and they were all great. I never expected that level of entertainment. It’s been said before in other reviews but I’ll say it again. Make reservations! I made reservations on-line well in advance of the cruise and was glad I did. If you don’t make reservations, you will stand in a long line before the show and you may or may not be allowed inside. With reservations, we walked right past the line and into the show. This includes restaurants as well.
For the specialty restaurants, we tried the Solarium Bistro for dinner, Chops Grill, and Giovanni’s for lunch. We weren’t impressed with Chops; nothing wrong with it, just not impressed. The Solarium Bistro was good and we really enjoyed Giovanni’s.
I needed to visit Guest Services a couple times for some issues and they were always courteous, professional, and helpful. Be advised that unless you go late at night, there will be a line.
Speaking of lines, some cultures do not seem to understand the concept of lines. I’ll explain. If there is a line of people waiting accomplish something, you should go to the rear of the line and wait your turn. No, you are not special. Even if you are special where ever it is you come from, you are not any more special than anybody else on the ship. Wait your turn. I’ll be good for your larger than necessary ego.
During one of the formal nights, I did see a man in shorts, flip flops, and a yellow t-shirt that was one size too small go in to the main dining room. If you can afford to go on this cruise, then you can afford one pair of long paints and a shirt with buttons and a collar. If that’s too much, then go up to the Windjammer, strap on the feed bag, and be happy.
The Bahamas was our first stop. I was ready to go back to the ship after about 2 hours. ‘nuff said.
St. Thomas was much nicer. We took an island tour and spent a couple hours at Megan Beach. It’s crowded but beautiful.
St. Maarten was my favorite. I’d consider going back there and spending a week. Lots to see and do.
Not mentioned in any of the reviews I’ve read was the Captain’s Corner. This was on the last full day of the cruise. The Captain gave a presentation in the theater that explained ship operations. He showed a video of the bridge and the crew quarters. He went on to answer questions from the audience, very informative. One fool asked the Captain about his salary; the Captain declined to answer. Please exercise some level of courtesy during this presentation.
Children. I understand that people take vacations to get away from many of their responsibilities. However, if you are unwilling to maintain control of your children while on a cruise, leave them at home.
Our cabin was an ocean view with balcony. Eating breakfast on the balcony was really nice. The room itself was clean and nice. I have seen reviews commenting on just one electrical outlet being available. There is another one just under the head of the bed beside the night stand. Closet space was fine. All our suit cases fit under the bed.
Again, we had a great time; the ship and the crew were awesome. Some of the other passengers, not so much. However, I can’t blame Royal Caribbean for that.